As part of my dissertation, I wrote “Acknowledgments” to recognize and thank those who supported me during my journey to earn a terminal degree.
While sitting in my office contemplating what I was going to write, my mind wandered back to my childhood. I thought about my parents and their impact on my life.
My parents understood the value of education, however they didn’t have the opportunities I was blessed to receive. They grew up in a different time when having a high school diploma wasn’t necessary to be successful. In fact, it was very common for young men to drop out to go to work and young ladies to stay home and help take care of the family.
Most people simply accept their lives – they don’t lead their lives.”
– Dr. John C. Maxwell
My father was a math wizard; however college wasn’t an option for him because he lacked the financial resources. So after he graduated from high school he joined the Army. Because of his math skills, my father found himself sitting in classes teaching college graduates how to launch missiles.
My father retired from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer. He then started a second career and retired from civil service. In his last assignment was in charge of all maintenance for nuclear submarines at Pear Harbor.
My mother dropped out of high school when her mother became very ill. She was the oldest of the five children at home. When my grandmother passed, my mother assumed responsibility for her younger siblings. She remained at home and helped my grandfather raise her younger siblings.
When my mother married my father, she continued to be a homemaker until she returned to school and earned her high school diploma. She then earned her degree and became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Later, my mother went back to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN), ultimately earning her certification as a Nurse Anesthetist. Not bad for a high school dropout with three children…
Only people live on after we are gone. Everything else is temporary. Ask yourself the following:
- What are you leaving behind?
- Who will carry on your legacy?
- What will that legacy look like?
I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes. Jackie Robinson once said, “A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.” Only by changing the way we live today, can we change the legacy we will leave.
The world today is filled with many challenges. Our youth are struggling with finding their place in a global society. Who will rise up and help them navigate the waters of change? Whose legacy will they be?
If not us then who, if not now then when.”
– Robert F. Kennedy
We have the power to change lives and shape the future through the legacy we leave behind.
What will you do to create a lasting legacy?